Minister Carmelo Abela has released a statement to the police and urged them to interrogate Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi, following reports over the weekend that he was being investigated in relation to the botched 2010 HSBC heist.
In a Facebook post, Abela said that he had, of his own volition, gone to the police headquarters this evening to release a statement “about the calumny” being made in his regard.
“I also gave the police a copy of the sworn declaration I have already presented in court in my libel case against Jason Azzopardi, who has not yet submitted a reply, despite the fact that proceedings started today,” Abela said.
This morning, a first sitting was held in defamation proceedings instituted by the minister after Azzopardi claimed in a Facebook post that Abela had been promised €300,000 for his alleged role in the failed heist.
Yesterday, the Times of Malta reported that the police had opened an investigation into the minister and had requested testimony he had given to the case’s inquiring magistrate back in 2010.
Last week, Abela told the paper when confronted about his inquiry testimony, that he did not remember ever having testified about the matter. Nationalist Party Home Affairs spokesperson Beppe Fenech Adami said during a press conference this afternoon, that this fact alone merited Abela’s resignation.
In addition to handing the police a copy of his declaration, Abela said he had also declared that he was available to cooperate fully in order to allay any doubts about him and for the truth to emerge.
“I challenge Jason Azzopardi to do the same as I have done and to go to the police once he has chosen to make these claims about me,” Abela said. “I ask why he has, till this day, not declared to the police what he is alleging.”
He said that he expected the police to call for Azzopardi and interrogate him.
Abela also called on PN leader Bernard Grech, who he said had made the allegations his own, to shoulder responsibility for what he claims are unfounded allegations.
Both Grech and Azzopardi, Abela said, had shown themselves to have associated themselves with the strategy of criminals looking to reach political motives.
What do you make of Abela’s statement?